Education as the Answer to the Mess in the Middle East?

The idea that that education, as so many western academics believe, is an answer to   creating a progressive society  in the Middle East is a nonstarter. Among other things it necessitates forgetting that Germany with the highest cultural and educational level in Europe ,at the time, would support one of the most brutal regimes in history. Education does not provide wisdom nor the power to discriminate political ideology from universal truths.

In the Western world the crime of the so-called intelligentsia is their slavish devotion to socialism and other leftist  poisonous ideologies.    In the Arab world and most of the Islamic world the “intellectuals” for the most part avoid writing or talking  about the deplorable conditions morally, religiously, and politically, in their own countries and continue to blame anyone, principally the United States and of course Israel for the dysfunctional societies in which they live.


Islamist totalitarian leader

 In the Arab world, there is this inbred hatred of all things Israeli, and to be honest…Jewish. This is also also quite prevalent among Western Middle East scholars who often provide cover for Islamic hate hatemongers. This is not some genetic trait among Arabs. It is a embedded belief which is promoted and cultivated by the so-called intellectuals of the Arab world and the politicians of the regimes for which they work. They are rarely called to task for this  by Western pundits and academics, and if so, the whistle blower is immediately branded a Zionist or some other term which, thanks to world bodies like the UN, have come to be associated with racism. This, in turn, is encouraged and facilitated by a Western scholarly Middle East community which all too often sees their mission as one of defending a dysfunctional Arab society against some rampant “Islamophobia”  supposedly found among the great unwashed. 


 The scientific and political structures of the West have not been used by the ruling class to further democracy or human rights in the Arab world ……they have been used to further oppression of the people by traditionally oriented despots. The introduction of Western political systems simply meant more efficient security apparatus, more sophisticated methods of population control, more terrifying weapons of intimidation, all with a ludicrous façade of parliaments, and comedic elections.

Iraq had the highest educational level in the Arab world prior to the first gulf war. It had a thin veneer of secular, western appearances which charmed a lot of Americans into thinking that Saddam was simply the Mussolini of the Arab world…a little rough around the edges but he did make the trains run on time…allegorically speaking of course, because in reality nothing had changed, only the techniques of controlling a population more effectively. Nasser was the golden boy of the  Western Arabophiles in the 60’s, as he guided his people into disastrous wars in Yemen and the Sinai against Israel

 With the advent of the “global village” there was this great hope that somehow western values on women, human rights, etc. would be eagerly assimilated by populations who could no longer be held in abysmal ignorance by despotic control of the means of information. Al-Jazeera was seen as the great front-runner of the new age of Arab enlightenment. Instead it, like the Arab governments, has only the appearance, and none of the substance of a free and open media outlet. It promotes animosity toward the Shi’a who have never bought into the idea of Pan-Arabism, and sensational visuals of American and Israeli “war crimes”. It is an Arab mirror of the BBC Arabic service which is controlled by Egyptian Sunni Pan-Arabists of the Nasser era. Much, if not most, of the Arab media is similar.

So pervasive and powerful is the culture that even when women have the vote, they tend to vote for the very same Islamic radicals who will promptly disenfranchise them again as soon as in power. This is the story from Kuwait and Bahrain.

 The internet was the supposedly the door to enlightenment of an information starved Arab Government control loosened a bit, but as we know today the Jihadists and radical Islamists dominate cyberspace and the hate propaganda being disseminated has exacerbated old sores.

 So, in summary I see very little advancement in human values as a result of Western institutions or technology.  In fact, this has brought an undermining of traditional cultural values, the erosion of the extended family societal controls, and a sort of anomic society, separating from its roots and with nothing to take its place. Today it is a region in which the thinking people are leaving in droves, leaving the field to the arrogant ciphers of the Islamic movement supremely self-confident of their superiority over an increasingly effete Western world. It is a situation with which we will have to live a long time and it will require something more than “Cultural awareness” and the “Islam means peace” lectures that are so popular among those who feel themselves enlightened.

 Islam is not the problem nor is it the answer. The radical Islamist movement is a curious blend of fascistic racial and Marxist notions of a tabula rasa man, ready to be molded by their image of the perfect world.

 Our technology and Mass communications have been perverted to become their principle means of warfare, resonating like communism before them, with the disenfranchised, the alienated, the arrogance of an intellectual, and leftist, elitist  political class.

Islamism, like communism, will wither and wilt, but only to be revived in a distant era, as few read history untainted by leftist ideology. In the interim, Islamism and  Communism must be contained and fought….. here and on distant shores, if necessary. There can be no temporizing with the totalitarian movements of Islamism and Communism. After all Hilaire Belloc forecast this in 1937.  You may not be  acquainted with one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century but you can get a glimpse of his  forecast of  the future radical Islam in 




About Tex

Retired artillery colonel, many years in a number of positions in the Arab world. Graduate of the US Military Academy and the American University of Beirut. MA in Arab studies from the American University in Beirut along with 18 years as Middle East Seminar Director at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School, Served in Vietnam with 1st Inf Division, Assignments in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, plus service with Trucial Oman Scouts in the Persian Gulf. Traveled to every Arab country on the map including Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
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